72 Hours in Cabo San Lucas

About three months into opening You & Yours, after almost three years (!!!) of planning, to say I was ready for a little break was an understatement. As soon as I felt the tasting room was in a good place operations-wise, I started scheming where we could take off for a few nights. Although we’d visited Cabo several times prior to this trip, the combination of having about a zillion Southwest Airlines points (perks of all those start-up costs!) and a newly offered non-stop flight from San Diego sealed the deal.

We took off on a Sunday, returning on a Wednesday, so as not to miss too much of service. After landing and nabbing a shuttle from the airport, we arrived at our hotel. A friend of ours graciously offered his corporate rate code for The Cape, A Thompson Hotel, otherwise, it would deeeeeeefinitely have not been in the budget. Super grateful for the hookup though because I’m a sucker for fancy accommodations and The Cape is top-notch. As a lover of hospitality, every aspect of our stay was a dream. The room, decor, views, pool, completely private beach (hard to come by in southern Cabo, and on a prime surf break no less) and most of all, the wealth of dining and drinking options – including a restaurant helmed by one of my favorite chefs, Enrique Olvera – all had us swooning.

72-Hours-Cabo-day-1        { getting acclimated }

Sunday 

Starving by the time we arrived, we dropped our bags and went straight for lunch & cocktails at the pool bar. Delicious steak tostadas and ceviche were consumed v v quickly, then washed down with refreshing Mezcal libations.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset  { the first of many Mezcal cocktails }

Coming back to life after some food, we ran to the room to throw on our swim suits and headed back down to the pool. It felt so nice to just relax, sip drinks and soak up the sun. I tried to start a book but was too antsy. I was so happy to just be away that I couldn’t concentrate.

Several more hours were spent sipping cocktails in and beside the pool after we made friends with a lovely, newly married couple from Mexico City. We chatted for a while, sharing our love for their incredible city and lost track of time. Once we felt sunset nearing we raced up to shower and change so we could sip yet more cocktails upstairs at the rooftop bar.

72-Hours-Cabo-rooftop-nightcap { view from the rooftop }

Once the sun had dipped below the horizon we headed out for a casual dinner at La Hacienda. La Hacienda is located at a resort nearby and their upscale Mexican food and al fresco patio area never disappoint. Barely able to keep our eyes open by the end of the meal, we headed back to The Cape for an early night.

Monday

We thought (incorrectly) that breakfast was included so we loaded up at the surprisingly impressive buffet. Turns out we were wrong but thankfully we enjoyed it so much that it was ultimately worth the $55 per person. Green juices, fresh coconuts, tons of seasonal fruit, a full cheese and charcuterie station, platters of cured and smoked fish, a tower of Mexican pastries plus tons of typical hot American breakfast items made for a filling first meal of the day. We rolled out of the hotel and into a Taxi to hit town.

72-Hours-Cabo-breakfast-1{ coffees with a view }

Desperate to walk off our breakfast, we cruised around on foot for a while once being dropped off by the marina. We wanted to gauge our own interest in a potential half day fishing trip and spoke to a few guides along our walk but ultimately decided against it and headed back to the hotel pool, but not before stopping at our favorite dockside bar for a Pacifico and some people/seal watching.

72-Hours-Cabo-Pacfico-DocksideAfter more ceviche and cocktails poolside we went up to the room for a leisurely nap in anticipation of fun dinner plans.

Having been to El Farallon on a previous trip without Luke, I knew I had to go back and take him with. Once you’ve arrived at the Resort at Pedregal where the restaurant is located, you’re escorted through the property down to a gorgeous, dramatic cliffside. After getting checked in, you’re invited to enjoy the champagne bar while listening to the waves pound the rocks below. There’s no menu, you just order from a case of fresh fish, all caught that day. Once you pick out your fish (or lobster, prawns, etc.) and give your order to the kitchen on the way to your table, you’re served three courses with your choice of two sides alongside your main. The snapper was incredible and every course was beautifully presented. If you’re in the market for an upscale dining experience while in Cabo, I can’t recommend this place enough.

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{ Pit stop for a photo opp at the Resort at Pedregal }

Still high on our exceptional meal, we headed back into town for drinks at my beloved Jungle Bar. Having spent a leeeetle bit of time in Cabo back in high school, this divey outdoor bar with rainbow-hued shots holds a soft spot in my heart. After perhaps the most contrasting post-dinner drinks, we hit up trendy Bar Esquina at the Bahia Hotel for some live music. The Bahia Hotel, by the way, is a great – albeit beach access-less – boutique hotel option in downtown Cabo. We stayed there a few years ago for Luke’s birthday and loved it.

Tuesday

We slept in a bit and headed to the spa for a free yoga class The Cape offers to guests on Tuesday mornings at 9 am. The class was exactly the type of yoga you want on vacation after a night of drinking – super relaxed with lots of slow moving stretches and ample chav-asana time.

72-Hours-Cabo-Breakfast-2{ the sweetest breakfast set up }

After hitting the buffet again post-yoga (it was that good), we headed back to town in search of a boat cruise. After some deliberation, we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best, choosing one of the 4-hour snorkeling/booze cruises. While the snorkeling was fun, I would not recommend the cruise itself, hence why I’m not providing specific company details. The provided lunch was barely edible and “unlimited” beer was limited to cans of Coors Light.

Once back on dry land we debated sticking around town for more drinks and people watching but couldn’t convince ourselves to miss out on our last afternoon by the pool. The hotel was seriously so nice, it was only place we wanted to be.

72-Hours-Cabo-room-drinks{ pre-dinner drinks on our balcony: tequila + cucumber + Topo Chico }

72-Hours-Cabo-balcony{ epic daybed situation on our balcony }

For our final dinner, we stayed on property to check out the aforementioned Manta. Being a huge fan of Chef Enrique Olvera’s other restaurants Pujol in Mexico City and Cosme in New York, my expectations were high. Unfortunately, they weren’t met but we still managed to enjoy the meal. We ended up being seated next to a sweet couple from Luke’s native New Zealand and continued the evening with them up at the rooftop bar for a nightcap.

Wednesday

With the end of our trip nearing, we woke early to try to squeeze in as much pool time as possible. It sadly took us until our final morning to discover the gem of a coffee shop on the lobby bar level. We ordered two iced coffees and took them down to the beach with us for one last stroll.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset{ post-caffeine beach read sesh}

Being up so early, we scored the best seats in the house – cushioned loungers on a small patio between the pool deck upstairs and beach below. I finished How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell (ended up getting hooked later in the trip) and shared a spicy chicken wrap with Luke before heading up to shower and pack (depressed all over again just thinking about it).

Sad to go home so soon but happy to have been able to sneak away, we headed back to the airport. So as not to prolong the vacay-withdrawals we shocked ourselves back to reality pretty quick with a 50-person Yelp Elite event at the distillery just hours after returning home. Back at it!

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Cocktail Crawl: Marina District & Embarcadero

My bachelorette pad (that I kindly share with my bf) technically falls within the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego but straddles the line that crosses over into the Waterfront/Embarcadero/Marina district of downtown San Diego. When I first moved into my place almost six years ago the in-between location was quiet, had an interesting mix of demographics and was definitely devoid of any hip places to eat or drink. Fast forward just five short years and it’s a bustling mecca of great food and drinks, with a strong, like-minded young professional and millennial presence. Next time you’ve got friends in town or are just looking for something to do on a gorgeous afternoon, follow along on my Marina District Cocktail Crawl!

#1. CARNITAS SNACK SHACK AT THE EMBARCADERO

Cocktail-Crawl-Marina-District-Distillerista-1{ a fine place for pork (and great cocktails!) }

Start things off with drinks and a view at Carnitas Snack Shack along the Embarcadero. In addition to a slew of cocktails featuring local spirits, they make a mean Old Tom Gimlet, one of my favorite classic cocktails. And since I apparently like to kick these things off with fries, you must order CSS’s spicy seasoned ones. Factor in the smoky bacon ketchup and they’re can’t-miss.

#2. PUESTO AT THE HEADQUARTERS

Cocktail-Crawl-Marina-District-Puesto{ Cozy up to the indoor/outdoor bar or lounge outside by one of the fire pits at Puesto }

Continue along the waterfront to Puesto at The Headquarters. Their fresh strawberry margarita is my idea of a perfect marg – not too sweet, not too tart – and their off-menu Cali taco is the stuff of dreams. If you’re not in the mood for a margarita, try one of their Mezcal cocktails or a beer from neighboring Tijuana’s burgeoning craft brewery scene.

#3. THE LION’S SHARE

lionsshare-Cocktail-Crawl-Distillerista{ The Lion’s Share’s bar, complete with on-trend taxidermy & faux vintage art }

From there you can crawl, literally, across Harbor Drive and less than half a block down Kettner Blvd to The Lion’s Share. Choose one of their exceptional cocktails off the extensive menu or ask for bartender’s choice. I like to request “gin, rocks, savory,” and more often than not I end up with a delicious basil and bell pepper gimlet sort of thing that is out of this world.

#4. ROY’S HAWAIIAN FUSION AT THE WATERFRONT MARRIOT

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Head back to the waterfront, through Seaport Village and towards the boats. Although not exactly the first place I think of when I want a craft cocktail, Hawaiian fusion chain restaurant Roy’s waterfront location at the Marriot has a trifecta that’s hard to pass up: enjoying the sunset on their al fresco patio with a Mai Tai, asushi roll and some people watching thrown in for good measure.

#5. THE WHISKEY HOUSE

Cocktail-Crawl-Distillerista-Marina-Whiskey-House{ just a small sliver of The Whiskey House’s whiskey selection }

Take a stroll along the marina and watch the boats come in before crossing over the convention center steps to the Whiskey House for a night cap. In addition to over 1700 (yes, that’s seventeen hundred!) whiskeys to choose from, they have an impressive cocktail menu, twenty taps pouring local beers and a thoughtful wine list. Best of all, whiskey enthusiasts with a sweet tooth can nibble on some Laphroaig ice cream or a Bourbon brownie sundae to finish off the night!

 

What are your favorite spots in the Marina District? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!

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Cocktail Crawl: Little Italy San Diego

Introducing a new series: Cocktail Crawls! These posts will act as my version of neighborhood guides, complete with my favorite spots to drink, chat and snack. First up is my home turf: Little Italy!

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1. Kick things off at Crack ShackRichard Blais’ all day chicken and eggs concept, with a frothy Frosé and some schmaltz fries (both pictured above) to fuel up for an afternoon of drinking. Theirs is one of the better versions of the white-hot trend I’ve had, made with Giffard strawberry liqueur and pureed berries. 2266 Kettner Blvd

2. Head a few blocks south for a refreshing Diego by the Bay at Kettner Exchange. It’s not on the menu anymore but chances are they’ll still shake one up for you. Gin, grapefruit, rhubarb bitters and soda create the perfect golden hour sipper. If you’re feeling another bite, go for the shishito peppers or spicy shrimp. The latter are an exact replica of Nobu’s rock shrimp creamy spicy. 2001 Kettner Blvd

3. Hike one block east up to India Street and cruise down to Prep Kitchen. The cozy upstairs space overlooks a bustling corner of Little Italy, perfect for warming up with a Comfort Blanket – orange tea-infused Bourbon, vanilla and orange – and some people watching. 1660 India St

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4. Peel yourself away and walk less than a block to San Diego’s OG craft cocktail mecca, Craft & Commerce. Their newly renovated and expanded space is definitely a sight to behold. I’ve been a big fan of the Lay Lady Lay (pictured above), a lambic beer cocktail, since they first opened in 2010. Fun fact: it’s one of the few cocktails they’ve brought back from the original menu. Plus, sneaking in a low ABV cocktail on a crawl probably isn’t the worst idea, #amiright? 675 W Beech St

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5. Last but not least, cap things off at Bracero Cocina (pictured above) across the street. You really can’t go wrong here but my favorites on the cocktail menu are the No Mames, a balanced and warming Mezcal cocktail, or the Passion of the Cristo with St. George Chile Vodka & Campari. And don’t even thinking about leaving without a Mexiterranean Adobada taco (or two) and some Shrimp & Bone Marrow Sopes. Thank me later! 1490 Kettner Blvd

What are your favorite spots for cocktails in Little Italy? What San Diego neighborhood would you like to crawl through next? Let me know in the comments below!

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Summer Drink Diary 2.0

Distillerista-Drink-DiaryWell, it’s a few months since summer left us, but I couldn’t resist rounding up all the delicious things I sipped on this past season! I love scrolling through my camera roll and being transported back to an event, garnish, weekend getaway or combination of flavors that was so arresting I had to stop and snap a photo. I hope you enjoy too!

Drink-Diary-June

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Weekend Brunch // Oddly enough, summer 2016 kicked off just as last year’s did! With weekend brunch and fitting cocktails. I was dying to try The Cheese Store‘s new brunch menu (bagels! quiche! baked eggs!) and their prickly pear mimosa did not disappoint.

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“Working remotely” // My sweet friend and her fam invited me on their annual trip to Mexico and although I had just about a million things to do at the time, I couldn’t pass up a chance to relax a bit and hang with one of my “second” families! There were several margaritas taken down over the course of the trip of course but for our last night we opted for sparkling rosé while we waited for our table at El Farallon.

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Vegas// We took a short but incredibly fun trip to Las Vegas with friends for the pretty much the sole purpose of eating and drinking all our favorite things! This cocktail above is always my first stop once we’ve checked into our hotel: the Mexican Gin & Tonic from Jose Andres’ China Poblano at the Cosmopolitan. I love the flavors so much, I recreated the drink here for the blog!

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Vegas, cont. // This was an epic Manhattan from one of my all-time favorite restaurants in Vegas, Giada at the Cromwell. Giada’s namesake establishment is one of fewer than five places in the United States to use a custom ice maker that carves her signature “G” inside (INSIDE!) the ice sphere. #Goals.

fullsizerender-15Iron Chef: CITRUS! // When your dear friends throw an Iron Chef battle and you’re competitive as I am, it’s go big or go home. My team’s dish was the crab cake slider & yuzu sour (spoiler alert: we WON!), but this opening cocktail was a total hit. Our friend Eder mixed them up and garnished each with a blistered shishito. P.S. My recipe for the Yuzu Gin Sour is coming to the blog soon so stay tuned!

fullsizerender-12Post-work cocktails on the patio // A long work day and warm evening called for this “Flight to Paradise” from my Speakeasy Co. subscription box. Learn how to make it here! RIP that cute cocktail pick to my garbage disposal.

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fullsizerender-5Family happy hour // My man and I took his (New Zealand-hailing) parents to visit my hometown and meet some of my extended family. The kiwis definitely got the “Texas” experience, as it was 95+ degrees the entire trip. Luckily my mom had plenty of ice, a brand new blender and some mixed berries on their last legs. I just added a bit of lemon juice, some vodka and topped them off with mint and soda water!

fullsizerender-9Brunching again // The summer wound down the same way it started – with some delightful brunch cocktails. A new restaurant I’m loving in San Diego right now is Trust and their mimosa-Aperol spritz hybrid is a thing of beauty. I dare you to have just one!

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Tequila vs. Mezcal // Perhaps the most satisfying event of the summer was the Tequila v. Mezcal summer bash at new Barrio Logon venue, The Goldleaf Project. A Miho Experience stole the show once again with their incredible cocktails (see menu below) and wait for it… a NACHO BAR! Sorry, nachos not pictured but I promise you they were BOMB.

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Aztec Cure

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I can’t wait for this Saturday’s pool party I’m co-hosting with my pals and fellow bloggers/entrepreneurs/small business owners Cecelia, Krystel and Kali at the Westgate Hotel. My excitement is partially because I get to frolic around a rooftop pool with friends (and hopefully meet some of you!), but mostly because I get to sip on one of these Aztec Cures.

When planning this pool party a couple months back, the girls and I took one for the team and tested EVERY. SINGLE. cocktail on the Westgate’s bar menu. For research purposes of course. It’s a tough job but somebody had to do it and this Mezcal & strawberry number was by far my fave. I thought I’d recreate it for you here in honor of this weekend’s festivities. If you’re in the San Diego area, I hope you’ll join us for the fun! Tickets are just $25 and include a $25 voucher to Vocabulary Boutique – win win!

Aztec Cure. Makes 1 cocktail.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle the strawberry halves.
  2. Add Mezcal, lemon juice, agave, bitters and a handful of ice to shaker. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
  3. Strain into a glass over fresh ice and top with soda water.
  4. Garnish with an edible flower & enjoy!

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{ Photos by Bryan Miller }

 

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#VocabPoolParty Instagram Giveaway

IMG_3482Have you heard?! I’m cohosting a summer pool party in honor of Vocabulary Boutique‘s 7th Birthday at the Westgate Hotel next Saturday August 13th. As a thank you to our loyal readers and followers, my cohosts and I are giving away TWO FREE TICKETS to the party. Head on over to my Instagram to enter!

IMG_3448ENTER to win HERE

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{ All photos by Bryan Miller }

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You’re Invited: Summer Pool Party at The Westgate Hotel

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For those of you in the San Diego area, I hope you’ll join me for a pool party on Saturday, August 13th at The Westgate Hotel downtown. The Westgate’s rooftop pool is straight up paradise and most importantly, the cocktails will be flowing thanks to resident mixologist Irving Gonzalez. Chef Fabrice Hardel will be serving up French Riviera-inspired dishes (in addition to a poolside seafood and raw bar) and DJ Aleko will be providing all the summer vibes. I look forward to meeting you!

Details and tickets here.

IMG_3619{ My co-hosts, from left to right: Kali, myself, Cecelia and Krystel }

IMG_3823IMG_3811-2{ All photos by Bryan Miller }

 

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A Beginner’s Guide to Mezcal: Part 2

A Beginner’s Guide to Mezcal, Part 2: IS IT REALLY THAT GOOD, OR IS IT JUST THE COOL NEW THING?

Distillerista-Mezcal-KK

Short answer: it’s really that good.

The vast majority of tequila production has, over the decades, become a thoroughly industrial process, with the big dominating producers cutting every corner available in service of making a low-quality spirit that can net their corporation the most amount of money.

To be clear, there are brilliant tequilas being made today by dedicated and passionate individuals all over Mexico, but those aren’t the ones people have heard of. The ones people have heard of are the ones in the supermarket, on which you had that terrible experience in college that still makes you hesitate to drink tequila to this day. As we like to say: there’s no such thing as a bad tequila experience, only an experience with bad tequila.

Enter mezcal, which thus far is relatively untouched by the hungry capitalistic maw. Mezcal yields are measured in hundreds of bottles, not millions of cases. They’re distilling out of clay pots and tree trunks south of the border. In tequila there are only two or three brands that still crush all their agaves with the traditional volcanic stone, while in mezcal that’s the norm. A small minority of quality minded tequila producers still slow-cook their agaves to render the sugars, while literally every single mezcal producer still does.

That’s why mezcal is so exciting. We cocktail enthusiasts want more flavor, not less, and mezcal has a complexity and a dynamic nature that no other spirit can touch. There’s no cheats, no shortcuts, no bottom line nonsense. It’s generations of tradition, hand harvested, packed on burros and walked down mountains to ferment and distill, and completely isolated from marketing budgets and board meetings. It’s been made the same way for hundreds of years and it tastes like the land from which it comes. Artisanal mezcal still has its soul completely intact, and you can taste every single wisp of it in the glass. That’s why you don’t meet mezcal fans so much as mezcal zealots. It’s because we fall in love with it.

FYI: The worm in the bottle was actually never a worm at all, but the larva of a moth that likes to live in agave plants. It is not tradition, but rather added early on as a gimmick. Few distillers continue to do so.

{This post originally appeared on cocktail subscription service Thirty3Club’s blog.}

A few of our favorite Distillerista approved spots to enjoy Mezcal:

Tijuana… La Mezcalera, Misión 19

Mexico City… La Clandestina, La Lavandería, El Bósforo, Hotel Condesa DF, Mercado Roma

Valle de Guadalupe… Deckman’s El Mogor, Finca Altozano

San Diego… Bracero

You might also like: Distillerista Guide to the Valle de Guadalupe & Summer Drink Diary

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A Beginner’s Guide to Mezcal: Part 1

Some friends and I just returned from an amazing long weekend in Mexico City and I’ve fallen head over heels in love with the Mezcal culture there. Although I’ve been a fan of the smoky, earthy, agave-based spirit for a while now, experiencing the charm of D.F.’s endless Mezcalerías these past few days solidified my obsession.

Seeing as Mezcal is the darling du jour of the craft cocktail world, I thought I’d share some 101 knowledge on the obscure cult spirit. In partnership with Thirty3Club.

Distillerista-Mezcal-KK{The traditional way to enjoy mezcal: neat, slightly chilled, with an orange slice & chili salt}

What mezcal is NOT:

– Low class tequila
– Made from cacti
– Related to psychedelic mescaline
– Any bottle with a worm in it
– A liquor that will kill you or blind you

So, what is mezcal?

Mezcal is a spirit made in Mexico, from any of the more than 30 different types of agave. The vast majority of mezcals are made from a quick-growing, high-yield version called Espadin (Es-pa-DEEN). Mezcal can be made in one of 8 different states of Mexico, but the heart is undoubtedly the southern, mountainous state of Oaxaca (Wa-ha-ka).

Tequila, on the other hand, is a mezcal, just a specific type (like how all bees are insects but not all insects are bees). Tequila must be produced in one of 5 designated states, with the vast majority coming from the western state of Jalisco, home of the town Tequila. Additionally, tequila must be made from a specific type of agave, blue weber.

How mezcal is cooked

Tequila producers (the good ones, anyway) steam their agaves in brick ovens for 24-48 hours, while mezcal producers dig a pit, and smoke their agaves over underground coals for up to 10 days. This is why most mezcals will have a smoky, sometimes rubbery, or meaty character, in intensities ranging from “oh, that’s interesting” to “OHMYGOD.”

How mezcal is distilled

Almost all spirits in the world are distilled to a high proof, and then watered down before bottling, which makes it smoother and milder. The higher the spirit is distilled, the more flavor is removed.

Mezcal has one of the lowest distillation proofs of any spirit in the world, traditionally between 45% and 52%, and is bottled however it comes out without adding water. Because of this, mezcal is an incredibly — startlingly — full-bodied and character-driven spirit. In other words, literally no effort at all has been made on the part of the distiller to make the product “mild.” They want as much flavor as can fit in the bottle.

What are other sprits distilled to?

– Bourbon ~70%
– Rum ~90%
– Vodka ~97%
– Tequila ~55%

What Does This All Mean For Taste?

Mezcal is an artisanal and dynamic product, that depending on how and from what it is made, can be earthy, smoky, fruity, creamy, or any combination thereof. It is monstrously flavorful, which is simultaneously a barrier to entry for the uninitiated, and the favorite trait of aficionados. Put simply: if it’s your first time drinking mezcal, it will be unusual and a little challenging. But like most acquired tastes, it’s worth it.

Stay tuned for part two next week! Until then, I leave you with this little gem of Oaxacan wisdom…

“Por todo mal, mezcal, y por todo bien también” — “For everything wrong, mezcal, and for everything right, mezcal as well.”

{ This post originally appeared on cocktail subscription service Thirty3Club’s blog // top image via }

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Summer Drink Diary

Distillerista-Drink-Diary

I’ve been obsessed with PUNCH, an “online magazine focused on narrative journalism – both written and visual – about wine, beer and cocktails” (as taken from their website) for a while now and when I read this article I knew I wanted to do something similar here on Distillerista. Having been in or trying to break into the wine and spirits industry for a few years now, I’ve spent a looooot of time either loitering at or working in bars and restaurants. And since visiting popular cocktail bars and making friends with talented bartenders and beverage directors is all part of the “job” when you’re a start up distiller, I enjoy sharing their work! So on that note, I’m taking my beloved PUNCH’s lead and starting a new series, Drink Diaries! From time to time I’ll corral my amateur iPhone snaps and heavily filtered Instagrams and clue you in on what I’ve been sipping lately. I hope you enjoy!

Drink-Diary-June

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Weekend Brunch // These lovelies were from a fun weekend brunch at The Patio on Goldfinch in the Mission Hills neighborhood of San Diego. It’s been a while but pretty sure the one on the left was the Germain Champagne (St. Germain, mint and bubbles) and the right was the Brown Derby (Bourbon, grapefruit and honey).

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Date Night // Thanks to our friend and fellow distiller Michael Skubic for introducing us to the ultra-charming Jayne’s Gastropub! Jayne’s has become our go-to date night spot thanks to their super cute outdoor patio, a gorgeous menu of updated British classics and some really solid cocktails and wines. Sipping on an Old Harbor Southwestern Gin Gimlet (front) of course, and a Pepino Ricardo (cucumber-infused tequila, lime juice, simple syrup and soda).

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Dinner in South Bay // This was probably my favorite cocktail of the summer, retro Manhattan Beach steakhouse Arthur J‘s The Long Goodbye. I hate carrots but am weirdly a huge fan of a carrot-lime-gin combo and this version was spot on. It was basically a gimlet of sorts with Ballast Point’s Old Grove Gin, lime, turmeric, fresh carrot juice and cardamom with a thyme sprig for garnish. So pretty and floral and refreshing. The perfect start to an indulgent meal.

Drink-Diary-July

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Opening Night // As Little Italy residents and frequenters of the Valle de Guadalupe, we’d been counting the days until Baja’s current darling, Chef Javier Plascencia, opened his latest stateside establishment, Bracero, just a couple blocks away. We snagged a rez on opening night and were blown away by the service, decor and (most impressively) the consistency and flawless execution of nearly every dish we ordered. This is unheard of for a new restaurant on opening night, particularly in San Diego (sad but true), so Bracero deserves all the snaps for this one. I couldn’t resist the Agua Chile, made with fresh watermelon, Campari, St. George Spirits Green Chile Vodka and a sweet little watermelon radish on top.

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Post-Padres Snack // We usually stay away from Nobu considering Luke worked there for years, but it was just too tempting when craving a little bite to eat after a Padres game at Petco Park. I fell straight back into my old ways – Champagne 95 please and keep ’em coming (peach schnapps, orange liqueur, pineapple puree and bubbles).

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Drink-Diary-KEX

Kiwi Invasion // We had some of our favorite Kiwi friends in town for a long weekend this past summer and had a very blurry but incredibly fun few days showing them around our favorite spots.  We couldn’t resist taking them to Kettner Exchange‘s rooftop patio and partaking in a few Diego by the Bays (gin, grapefruit, lemon, rhubarb bitters and soda).

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Working Lunch // A particularly successful meeting called for a celebratory two-margarita lunch last month. Puesto at The Headquarters makes some of my favorite and the strawberry one is fruity and tart without being too sweet.

Drink-Diary-Barcon

Barçon Cocktail Co. Launch // I’ve been a MIHO Gastrotruck (San Diego’s coolest food truck) fan ever since they used to park next to the office I interned at in college every Friday! In addition to the famed truck they now have an incredibly successful catering company, The Vetted Table, and have recently launched a cocktail arm as well, Barçon Cocktail Co.! The team behind the parent company, A MIHO Experience, threw a brilliant dim-sum style cocktail hour last month at one of San Diego’s coolest bars, Sycamore Den. Our favorite was the Cracked Cucumber: Vodka, St. Germain, lime, soda and fresh cracked black pepper. We’ve been making them at home on repeat ever since!

 

I hope this Drink Diary was a fun read. Be sure to follow Distillerista on Instagram for more drink-related snaps and please tag YOUR cocktail ‘grams with #Distillerista so I can see what you’re sipping on too! 

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